CWG 2022 Day 1 India News Round-up: Thapa Enters Pre-quarters; Women’s Cricket Team Loses
Shiva Thapa (right) in action against Suleman Baloch of Pakistan at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Friday, July 29.
From the badminton and table tennis teams to the women’s hockey side and the boxers, Indians made victorious starts to their Commonwealth Games campaigns on the opening day in Birmingham on Friday. There were disappointments as well, the major one being the women’s cricket team’s loss to Australia in their T20 opener.
Here is a round-up of the major Indian performances in Birmingham on July 29.
Thapa Enters Pre-Quarters
Shiva Thapa began the Indian boxing team’s Commonwealth Games campaign with a power-packed victory over Pakistan's Suleman Baloch in the first round of the 63.5 kg category in Birmingham on Friday.
Thapa recorded a unanimous 5-0 win to enter the pre-quarterfinals of the light welterweight division. The former world championship bronze medallist was a class apart, and went in and scored at will, while his defences were so superior that Baloch had trouble landing, let alone it being a scoring punch. There was even a point in the bout when Baloch swung at Thapa and fell off balance after the Indian ducked and moved away with ease.
Australia Beat India
Indian women’s cricket team began their CWG campaign with a loss against Australia in their Group A match on Friday. The Aussies won by three wickets.
India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and opted to bat. They posted a challenging 154 for eight in 20 overs with the skipper hitting a half century (52 off 34 balls). Shafali Verma scored 48 off 33 balls.
Smriti Mandhana, who scored 25 off 17 balls, also helped India reach a fighting total. Australia made inroads through left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen, who took four wickets for 22 runs.
Australia chased down the target of 155 in the 19th over. Ashleigh Gardner top-scored with an unbeaten 52. Renuka Singh grabbed four wickets for 18 runs for India.
Brief scores: India: 154/8 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 52, Shafali Verma 48, Jess Jonassen 4/22) lost to Australia: 157 for 7 in 20 overs (Ashleigh Gardner 52 not out; Renuka Singh 4/18, Deepti Sharma 2/24).
Nataraj Enters Semis
India had a mixed opening day in the pool. Srihari Nataraj qualified for the semifinals of the men's 100m backstroke while Sajan Prakash and debutant Kushagra Rawat failed to advance in their respective events.
Nataraj, 21, who clocked 54.68 seconds, was the third fastest swimmer in his heat and fifth fastest overall. Nataraj has a personal best of 53.77s. Had he touched or broken that record, he would have been the top swimmer at the heats, ahead of South Africa’s Pieter Coetze, who clocked 53.91. However, swimmers usually step up their game in the semifinals and final rounds and so we can expect faster timings from the field. If Nataraj hopes to progress, he will have to better his personal mark.
Meanwhile, Prakash (25.01s) finished eighth in the men's 50m butterfly heats. Kushagra, a debutant at CWG, finished last in the men's 400m freestyle heat with a timing of 3:57.45s.
Hockey: India Beat Ghana
The Indian women’s hockey team crushed Ghana 5-0 to begin their Pool A campaign. Gurjit Kaur, Neha, Sangita Kumari and Salima Tete scored for India as they completely dominated the lower-ranked opponents.
India, who are hoping to break a 16-year medal drought at the Games. Their last medal came at Melbourne 2006, a bronze following the gold at Manchester 2002. Since then, they have struggled to reach the latter stages at the CWG.
Led by Savita Punia, India had finished a disappointing ninth at the FIH Women’s World Cup earlier this month. India are clubbed in Pool A alongside England, Canada, Wales and Ghana; while Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland and Kenya complete Pool B.
India Thrash Pakistan in Badminton
India beat Pakistan after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in their badminton team event opener at the CWG.
B Sumeeth Reddy and Machimanda Ponnappa recorded a comfortable 21-9, 21-12 win over Muhammad Irfan Saeed Bhatti and Ghazala Siddique in their mixed doubles clash at the National Exhibition Centre to start the proceedings.
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Kidambi Srikanth then took over, getting the better of Murad Ali 21-7, 21-12 in the men's singles match. The difference in class was evident with Srikanth hardly breaking a sweat. The Pakistani player was, in fact, having trouble reading the rallies.
The script played more one-sided in the next match of the tie when PV Sindhu dominated Mahoor Shahzad in the women's singles. The double Olympic medallist won 21-7, 21-6.
Easy Win for TT Players
The Indian men’s and women’s table tennis teams recorded 3-0 victories over Barbados and South Africa respectively.
In a Group 3 tie against Barbados, Harmeet Desai and G Sathiyan started the proceedings with a dominating 11-9, 11-9, 11-4 win over Kevin Farley and Tyrese Knight. Sharath Kamal just took 15 minutes to rout Ramon Maxwell 11-5, 11-3, 11-3. Sathiyan returned against for the reverse singles, and disposed off Tyrese Knight 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 to seal the tie.
In the women's segment, the doubles pair of Sreeja Akula and Reeth Tennison beat Lailaa Edwards and Danisha Patel 11-7, 11-7, 11-5. Manika Batra, who became the first Indian table tennis player to win a gold in the women's singles in the last edition, thrashed Musfique Kalam 11-5, 11-3 11-2. Akula then dominated Patel, winning 11-5, 11-3, 11-6.
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